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Backed immigration bills approved by House

Backed immigration bills approved by House”

House Republicans joined President Donald Trump on Thursday afternoon in declaring war on sanctuary cities - passing legislation targeting the cities' funding while hammering a message of the dangers posed by undocumented immigrants.

The House has approved a bill to stiffen punishments for immigrants who re-enter the United States illegally. Its aim is to prevent tragedies of the kind that befell Kathryn Steinle, a 32-year-old woman who was shot and killed in 2015 by an undocumented immigrant. "Kate's Law" was named for Kathryn Steinle of San Francisco, who was shot and killed by an unauthorized immigrant who kept returning to the US despite being deported several times.

"You lost the people that you love because our government refused to enforce our nation's immigration laws, and that's including the existing immigration laws", Trump told the family members gathered in the White House Cabinet room. By a vote of 257-167, the chamber also passed "Kate's law" to increase penalties for illegal immigrants who return to the United States.

It would bar states and localities that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities from receiving certain Justice Department and Homeland Security grants, including some related to law enforcement and terrorism.

"We are protecting the freedoms of law-abiding Americans, and we are going after the criminal gangs and cartels that prey on our innocent citizens", President Trump said in a statement.

Surrounded by family members of people killed by illegal immigrants, President Trump urged Congress on Wednesday to pass two bills that would crack down on illegal-immigrant criminals and sanctuary cities.

A spokesman said later that Kelly "will continue to push back against any attempt - pressure, threat or otherwise - to ignore the enforcement of immigration law".

The National Fraternal Order of Police this week wrote to House leaders warning that "withholding needed assistance to law enforcement agencies - which have no policymaking role - also hurts public safety efforts".

As Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times noted this week, "federal judges remain major stumbling blocks to (Trump's) aggressive immigration plans, with courts from California to MI and Atlanta limiting his crackdown on sanctuary cities and stopping him from deporting illegal immigrants he has targeted for removal". If the measures pass the upper chamber, sanctuary cities - which don't require law enforcement officers to cooperate with immigration authorities - would lose access to taxpayer-funded federal grants if they don't comply with the law.

Three Democrats broke with their party to support the sanctuary cities bill: Reps.

The Administration strongly supports H.R. 3004, Kate's Law. An illegal immigrant from Honduras, Edwin Mejia, is wanted for motor vehicle homicide in the case, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.) missed the vote but said he would have voted yes.

"That's just bogus", said California Rep. Zoe Lofgren when asked by CNN about Republicans' claim that sanctuary cities harbor criminals.

In April, the Trump administration opened an office dedicated to helping vicimts of crimes committed by immigrants - an initiative criticized as misguided because studies have shown immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens. Under the bill, people could be sentenced to up to 25 years if they reentered the USA after being convicted of certain crimes, some of them immigration-related.

The bills face an uncertain future in the Senate, however, where they could be subject to a Democratic filibuster. Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.



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